Penske should expand to two cars now!

  • Virgin Australia Supercars Championship
  • |
  • 18/03/2015
  • By V8 Supercars

Expand to a two-car team now! That's the quickest way for DJR Team Penske to get Marcos Ambrose up to pace says his friend and former team-mate Russell Ingall.

"Do it now, absolutely," the 2005 V8 Supercars champion declared. "Not next year, do it now. It's a no-brainer."

Ingall, who finished his stellar V8 Supercars career in 2014 and is now a FOX SPORTS commentator, says he is not surprised Ambrose is taking time to adapt to the New Generation racer.

But he admits he is shocked the two-time V8 Supercars champion has elected to step out of the #17 Ford Falcon FG X just two events into his return to Australian racing from nine years racing NASCAR in the USA.

"It has caught me off guard because I don't think he or the team has given themselves enough time," Ingall told v8supercars.com.au. "It is an admirable thing he is doing, but I am a bit surprised."

Ingall is certain the fastest way for Ambrose to get on the pace is to keep driving and have a full-time team-mate help develop the FG X, rather than temporarily make way for young gun Scott Pye.

At this stage it is unclear how long Ambrose will stay out of the cockpit, although he has committed to co-drive in the Pirtek Enduro Cup. He has a two year contract with DJR Team Penske.

"I cannot see how sitting out of the car can help," said Ingall. "I would have thought the better solution would be to put Scotty in a second car.

"That way you get the second car data and start working it out. There is very little testing so the only way they can short-cut it is to get a second car going. To me that would be a no brainer.

"They have got a driver, they can get licenses that's not a problem. I am sure V8s wouldn't knock it back."

Ingall revealed he had driven with Ambrose back to the Gold Coast after the Clipsal 500 championship opener and they had discussed the driving and set-up challenges the New Generation racer posed compared to the Project Blueprint Stone Brothers Racing Falcons they both starred in.

"There was no talk of anything like this," Ingall told v8supercars.com.au. "He was not confused, but he was a bit frustrated trying to get his head around the car.

"That Car of the Future (New Generation) car is definitely a different beast from the old car and up to a point it has made it easier for some of the newcomers to the sport because if you have the old car in your head then some of the habits of driving the old series car isn't liked by 'version two'.

"He probably still has that car in his head. And not only that, he's spent 10 years away in a big, heavy NASCAR tractor, so for sure he is up against it."

Ingall said he thought Ambrose's efforts were full of merit at the Clipsal 500, where he qualified for the ARMOR ALL Top 10 Shootout on Sunday and finished 12th in the race despite a team strategy mistake.

He dismissed Ambrose's rear-of-grid performance on the Albert Park street circuit at the F1 Rolex Australian Grand Prix as the result of not having the setup right on a track where it is absolutely critical.

And he predicted that Ambrose's performances would have improved from now on circuits he was familiar with, such as his home-track Symmons Plains, which will host the Tyrepower Tasmania SuperSprint on March 27-29.

"I think especially going to Tasmania, he would have been competitive there, and at Winton and Perth and so on. So I am not sure if he is jumping the gun a little bit," said Ingall.

"They (DJR Team Penske and Ambrose) have always said from the word go this is a building year and they shouldn't be ashamed of where they are because we have seen some of the greats come in and struggle.

"Ford Performance Racing were in the wilderness for a long time, the Holden Racing Team have gone through a series of restructure before they have come back.

"Two meetings into it I wouldn't be dismayed because of a couple of average results."

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